Sunday, May 07, 2006

the last month or so

Okay, so now that May is upon us, I thought it was time for an update!

I've been spending an increaseing amount of my work time at home. Why? because I have internet in my apartment, and my organization barely has money to cover the office rent, let alone pay for a computer and internet! This week, after spending a morning researching grant options and reading the local news, I headed for my bus stop. I was a bit early, so I was spacing out while waiting for the bus to arrive. Suddenly, my attention refocused on Bulgaria when a car and "float" passed by FULL of face-painted and coutume clad adults. Between the happy music pumping cheerfully from the stereo and the colorful getups from the paraders, it took me a minute to realize...THE CICRUS IS IN TOWN! about 1 minute later, my bus finally comes...leaving the circus parade in the dusk. now, i've seen a lot of weird things in bulgaria, but for some reason, this one is WAAAY out there for me. something about the circus wagon arriving before my bus made me crack up all day...

Condi Rice was here. She was on a tour of the region, talking about the EU, Cyprus and NATO. Bulgaria joined NATO a while back, and an informal meeting was held at Sofia's national palace of culture (NDK). Traffick was a mess, people were outraged that trafic was a mess, and a local political group - Ataka- was outraged that Bulgaria had just signed a bill allowing more US bases to be built in Bulgaria. This winter (?), it was discovred that several American bases in eastern european countries were actually being used to torture people, so there was big of controversy over whether or not Bulgaria should take these bases. Ataka staged huge rallies, but thankfully, the Bulgarian officials did a MUCH better job controlling oppositional forces that the government of say, Greece. There were much more violent protests in Athens, 3 days before Condi came to bulgaria. We were a little worried that we would encounter some anti-american violence, but everything turned out well...and i got a lovely picture out of the whole deal!

On of my students, Eli, is applying for a journalism competition. This program is designed specifically for Roma youth, and would include a 10- week training on becoming a journalist. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how to type, so she came over to my apartment on monday (bulgarian labor day) and we worked on her resume and motivation statement. It was pretty funny recieving a dictation in bulgarian, espeically since I didn't know all the words! It was even funnier when she asked me for my input...thankfully, those were during times when I understood what I was writting! but mostly, i feel really good about what we were able to do together. It might not seem like a lot to those of you back in the states, but when its all said and done, these are the kind of moments that make our peace corps service feel rewarding. Eli's friends don't have computers, don't know how to type, and don't have access to the internet- luckily, I do- and I was able to help her. Now, I hope she gets the chance to go!!

finally, i would like to request that no packages or mail be sent to me for a short time. The mail address is- as it seems- currently not the most accurate...I will post here when its all cleared up!

happy bulgarian labor day, cinco da mayo, and george's day (bulgaria)!


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